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President Donald Trump greets Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., upon arrival at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas for a fundraising visit and to give a speech at the Nevada Republican Party convention Saturday, June 23, 2018. CREDIT: Sam Morris/Las Vegas News Bureau

A fundraising event with President Donald Trump last month helped net nearly a half million dollars to boost the campaign of Republican Sen. Dean Heller.

The “Heller Nevada Victory Fund,” a joint fundraising committee composed of Heller’s campaign, the Nevada Republican Central Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, reported raising $437,900 last month, almost entirely on the day of a scheduled fundraising event with the president. The Federal Election Commission allows two or more candidates, PACs or party committees to create a joint fundraising committee, and while participants are subject to contribution maximums for individual donors, the joint committees have no limit on how much a single donor can give.

Trump attended the fundraiser amid a busy trip to Nevada last month, which also saw him give a speech to the Nevada Republican Party Convention and a White House-hosted “town hall” with small business owners to boost the Republican-led tax bill.

The pricey fundraiser — including a $15,000 per couple cost for a photo and a $50,000 per couple price tag for a “private roundtable” with the president — led to donations by a host of prominent Nevada business executives, including Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson and his wife Miriam. Combined, the Adelsons gave the group $87,800.

Other top donors included:

  • Treasure Island Owner Phil Ruffin and his wife Oleksandra, who gave a combined $50,000
  • Derek Stevens, The D Casino CEO, who contributed $25,000
  • Ahern Rentals owner Don Ahern and his wife Carolyn, who both gave $15,000
  • Charles Brennan, president of Dollar Loan Center, and his wife Mary, who both donated $25,000
  • Ben Farahi, chairman of Monarch Casinos, and his wife Susan, who gave a combined $7,500
  • Martin-Harris Construction founder Frank Martin and his wife Bonnie, who both gave $25,000
  • Gilmore Construction owner Larry Gilmore, who gave $15,000
  • George and Cari Schaeffer of Reno, who both gave $25,000
  • MGM Resorts International PAC, which gave $5,000

The group reported transferring $145,000 to the NRSC, $98,800 to the Nevada Republican Party and just over $30,000 to Heller’s primary Senate account. It also reported spending more than $101,000 on “Travel/Airfare” paid to the Republican National Committee, and has more than $54,000 remaining in available cash on hand.

Heller is the only Republican senator facing re-election in a state won by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election, and will face off against Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen in the 2018 election.

Disclosure: MGM Resorts International has donated to The Nevada Independent. You can see a full list of donors here.
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